Abortion as sex selection

There’s a genuine problem with women using abortion for sex selection in many parts of the world (primarily to avoid having daughters), but I’m not aware of any evidence that this is a problem in the United States.  Far be it from the NC Republican legislature to step in to confront a problem that doesn’t actually exist:

RALEIGH, N.C. — A bill that would make doctors liable for performing abortions in which gender plays a role is headed for the House floor after approval by the House Judiciary A Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 716 would allow the parents, guardians or current or former doctors of a woman who seeks an abortion to sue the doctor who provided it if they believe the doctor had “knowledge, or an objective reason to know, that a significant factor in the pregnant woman seeking the abortion is related to the sex of the unborn child.”

“There’s been lots of evidence that it happens around the world,” said sponsor Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg. “We’ve done bills that show we believe there is sex discrimination in education, there is sex discrimination in employment. Why wouldn’t we believe there would be sex discrimination in abortion?”

Why wouldn’t we?  Because there’s no evidence for starters?  Because the cultures of India and China, where this is most prominent to my knowledge, are dramatically different than the culture of the United States.

And I’m no pro-choice absolutist, but the point is Roe v. Wade holds that a woman can have an abortion in the first trimester because she wants to have an abortion.  Now, she may have good reasons and she may have bad ones, but that doesn’t strike me as something we want the government being the judge of for a legal medical procedure.  I’m sure pro-lifers would very much want to go down the road where every woman seeking an abortion has to prove that her reasons are “good enough,” but I’m not sure most Americans would want us to go down that road and I’m pretty sure that runs into the right to privacy.

But, don’t worry, this is actually about protecting and empowering women:

Tami Fitzgerald with the North Carolina Values Coalition said the bill would send the message that “discrimination based on sex is not acceptable in this state.”

“This is the real war on women,” Fitzgerald said. “Killing girls because they are girls is not acceptable in any civilized society.”

Call me crazy, but I’d suggest at least 100 better ways to send a message that sex discimination is not acceptable in NC.  And I’d also bet that Tami Fitzgerald is not in support of most of them.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Abortion as sex selection

  1. Deborah Ferry says:

    Funny but the same legislators seem like they could care less about employment and wage discrimination. They also have shown that, in their minds, women are incapable of making their own reproductive decisions. But once again, the rights of the fetus trumps all.

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